It’s no secret that my favorite part about birthdays is planning a delicious menu with an extra special dessert for the birthday person. Knowing that my dad prefers pie to cake and spotting an abundance of delicious cherries at our local farmer’s market I decided it was finally time to try these Cherry Hand Pies I bookmarked in the beginning of the summer. Made with frozen puff pastry and just a few simple ingredients these little pies were quick to make.
And while I love to make labor-intensive and elaborate birthday cakes, sometimes, especially in the summer, simpler is better. We enjoyed them with a side of vanilla ice cream, would be lovely adorned with a dollop of homemade whipped cream but are delicious enough to enjoy on their own. And even though they aren’t conducive to birthday candles (and who would want 58 candles on their birthday cake, anyway?) these were a perfect birthday treat. Sometimes birthdays are sweeter with pie and I’ve come to think sometimes pies are sweeter without forks. And because they’re individual and portable the left-over pies make an extra-special breakfast-on-the-go and I don’t know of any roommate who wouldn’t enjoy that.
Cherry Hand Pies
Yield: 9 Individual Hand Pies
2 cups fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted*, or about 12 ounces frozen pitted cherries, unthawed
2/3 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 14-ounce package puff pastry, thawed in refrigerator
Flour (for dusting)
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons raw sugar
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Stir cornstarch and 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water together in a small bowl until the cornstarch is dissolved. Combine fresh cherries, dried cherries, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cherry juices are released, about 5 minutes. Add cornstarch & water mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Roll out thawed pasty on a floured surface into a 18×15″ rectangle. (A pastry mat is great for this step). Using a pizza knife or pastry cutter, cut dough into nine 6×5″ rectangles. Whisk egg white and 1 tablespoon water together in a small bowl.
Working with 1 rectangle at a time, place on a floured work surface and brush edges with egg wash. Scoop 3 tablespoons cherry mixture onto one side; fold dough over filling so that short ends meet, forming a 5×3″ packet. Crimp edges with a fork to seal. Using a sharp knife, cut a few slits in top of pie to vent. Place on prepared baking sheet; repeat with remaining dough and filling until you have nine pies.
Brush tops with egg wash, then sprinkle with raw sugar. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake pastries until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or pack into a basket to enjoy on a picnic. DO AHEAD (I love this part of bon appetit recipes) Can be made 1 day ahead. Let stand at room temperature.